Marion Helwig is the owner of Freddy’s Homestead, a property situated in Walkaway, approximately 40km south of Geraldton, Western Australia. The property is a wildlife-friendly sanctuary and educational site, with some areas used intermittently to house livestock. A garden on the block is also used to grow and propagate plantings for a boutique plant business. Marion wishes to preserve the property for wildlife while continuing her propagation business. She also has plans to open the property to visitors for garden shows, and is interested in permanently protecting the land in the future.
Freddy’s Homestead spans 20 hectares on sandy soils, surrounded by agricultural land and pasture with a water pipeline bounding the western side of the block. The property has been overstocked by previous owners, resulting in high weed growth in winter developing into arid, dusty land in the summer.
Some individual stands of native trees are present, including a patch of acacias and grevilleas to the east. Several eucalypt stands form windbreaks, and a dedicated replanting program has seen eight acres replanted with mixed native and exotic species.
Faunal diversity is growing, with more than 300 species identified. The property is also a roosting site for red-tailed black cockatoos (Calyptorhynchus banksii), and rainbow bee-eaters (Merops ornatus), red wattlebirds (Anthochaera carunculata) and various raptors have been seen or heard on the land. Several species of legless lizards and snakes have also been spotted but have not yet been identified.